Ever wonder what your birthstone is? This explains the birthstones for each month of the year and some of the propeties of each.
Birthstones are gems associated with each month and are believed to bring luck to people born in that month. Some say birthstones originated from the 12-jeweled breastplate worn by Aaron, the brother of Moses. Birthstones have evolved over years and this is an outline of the modern birthstones that jewelers use.
January belongs to the garnet, a stone ranging in colorless to black. Its most common color is a deep red. Garnet is typically found in Africa, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka and in some parts of the United States
Some believe that Noah hung a large garnet in the ark for light. It reportedly also gives its wearer guidance in the night, protection from nightmares, and according to the Egyptians, is an antidote for snakebites and food poisoning.
February’s birthstone is the amethyst, which comes in hues of purple. The Greeks believed that it prevented intoxication when worn. Amethyst was said to have a sobering effect on the wearer when it comes to love's passion as well. It has symbolized peace, protection and tranquility. Because royalty has always adored the color purple, amethysts are widely used in the ornaments of ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and in the British Crown Jewel.
March babies are born under the aquamarine, a clear stone ranging in color from light blue to blue-green and dark blue. It is a member of the important beryl family, which also includes emerald. In ancient times, the stone was said to aid those at sea. Dreams about the gem signify the making of new friends and wearing aquamarine earrings brings love and affection. It also symbolizes youth, hope and health.
April belongs to the diamond—the most sought after and precious gemstone. The name "diamond" comes from the Greek word "adamas" meaning unconquerable-suggesting the eternity of love. Because of this diamonds are traditionally used in engagement rings. Diamonds were discovered more than 2,000 years ago in India. Most diamonds are colorless, but they can be found with a strong, bright color-green, red, pink, blue, canary yellow and amber. These "fancy" colored diamonds are very rare
May’s birthstone is the emerald. The name comes from the Greek "smaragdos” meaning green stone. The most prized is pure grass green. A flawless, clear emerald is very rare and is usually found in only small sizes. Small to medium sized stones are often faceted in the "step" or emerald cut.
According to legend, wearing an emerald cured illnesses such as low I.Q., poor eyesight and infertility. It also enabled the wearer to predict the future.
June’s birthstone is the pearl, a gem produced inside the living tissue of the oyster. Natural pearls are very rare. Most are cultivated in large oyster farms where a small “seed” is placed in the oyster and allowed to become coated with nacre. Pearls come in a wide range of colors. They should be relatively free from skin blemishes. The more perfectly round the shape the better. The higher the luster, or "orient", the more valuable the specimen. The larger the pearl, the greater the value. Pearls represent modesty, chastity and purity. They have also come to symbolize a happy marriage.
July is the month of the ruby. Sister to the sapphire, the ruby is red corundum. Ruby is known as the "Lord of the Gems" because of its rarity and beauty. Its name comes from the Latin word "ruber” meaning red. The finest color is a vivid, almost pure spectral red with a very faint undertone of blue, as seen in Burmese rubies, which are considered the finest. Rubies are believed to protect their owners. Some thought its protective powers were intensified when set in jewelry, and worn on the left side.
August’s birthstone is peridot, a transparent lime or olive green stone. Peridot is found in Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Myanmar, Norway, and the United States. According to lore, the peridot intensified the effects of the drug if the medicine was taken from a cup made of peridot. . Pirates considered peridot powerful amulets against all evil, and when set in gold, were said to protect the wearer from the terrors of the night.
September has the sapphire-- all gem quality corundum that is not red. Although sapphires come in a rainbow of shades the most recognized color is blue. Sapphire is found in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and India. Prince Charles chose a blue sapphire for Princess Diana's engagement ring. Ancients believed the Ten Commandments were written on a sapphire tablet. Marriage partners put great faith in the stone believing that if its luster dimmed, a spouse had been unfaithful. Sapphire refused to shine when worn by the impure of heart. According to lore, ancient priests and sorcerers honored sapphire above all gems. The stone allowed them to tell the future.
October belongs to the opal, a noncrystalline form of the mineral silica. The stone has the ability to refract and reflect specific wavelengths of light. It has been described as "made up of the glories of the most precious gems... the gentler fire of the ruby, the rich purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, glittering together...” Some believe the opal represents hope, innocence and purity through the ages.
November babies wear topaz, which comes in a variety of colors including blue, white and yellow. The orange-red "Imperial" topaz is rare. The lore, magic and romance of topaz goes back many thousands of years. It gave the Greeks strength and relieved ailments, even death. Topaz, meaning fire, is said to make its wearer invisible in time of emergency. It proved the loyalty of associates by changing color in the presence of poison.
December is the month of the turquoise, which ranges in color from sky blue to green. During the 16th century Southwest Indians used the stone as a form of currency. They believed the gemstone could bring spoils to the warrior, animals to the hunter, and happiness and good fortune to all. Modern-day turquoise is treated to improve its color and durability.